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UNIDO funds program to train horticultural farmers

By Grace Chomba

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has funded UNIDO’s Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP) with Sh425m to train farmers across East Africa for three years.

MARKUP is a regional development initiative in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda that assists small scale farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The training is aimed to keep small-scale horticultural farmers in a position to export their produce directly to the European Union. This will help Kenyans as most of them rely on exporting companies to sell and market their produce internationally.

The program will equip farmers to secure a direct market linkage internationally, regionally and locally. The program will increase Kenya’s functional ability to produce competitive exportable products that will comply with international standards.

“The project is geared to support horticulture sector to ensure that products meet market requirements,” said EU Delegation Head of Cooperation Dr Hubert Perr. “The European Union has a very sizeable market which offers competitive prices for quality produce.”

They will establish workshop training in the following 12 counties; Busia, Bungoma, Homabay, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Makueni, Machakos, Kajiado and Embu.

The Farmers and capitalists dealing with horticultural crops like avocado, cocoa, coffee, spices, tea, green beans snow peas, chillies, mango, passion fruits, macadamia, ground nuts and herbs will benefit from the training.

The program has partnered with the International Trade Centre (ICT) and the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) and the East African Community (EAC) at the regional level.

The program will work together with Kenyan stakeholders like the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to help strengthen the adoption of relevant international standards and improve food safety regulation to Kenya’s plant-based produce.

The training will inform them of the international standards of the targeted crops, on how to expand and explore markets regionally and internationally.

Farm Biz Africa says that the funding aims to improve the SMEs compliance with the international quality and standards requirements, improve awareness and transparency related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and reduce trading technical barriers. It also aims to enable participating SMEs to gain product certification to ease their efforts to enter foreign markets.

 

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